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“The Way It Was”

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GLOW Elixir Koh Yao Yai
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Ko Yao Yai
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 2, 2013

We were just looking for a sheltered anchorage and stumbled on this place almost by accident on a sailing trip around the islands east of Phuket. We anchored in a beautiful, peaceful bay and went ashore to see what was what. This is why tourists started coming to south Thailand in the first place, and why so many of the once pristine paradises (but not this one) have been ruined. A beautiful, fine white sand beach overhung by shady trees whose branches reached out almost to the shoreline. Crystal clear water ranging from green to blue to grey depending on the sun (which sets gloriously over Phuket island) a few longboats drawn up on the beach and a smallish resort consisting of individual bungalows, some with pools (but there is a perfectly good communal pool.)

The loudest sound comes from the waves lapping up on the beach and the mina birds. A row of tables on a terrace just the other side of a low retaining wall from the beach provide both shaded (essential during the day) and exposed (nice in the evening) dining options or just a place to have a drink and relax. The menu is simple with a modest array of choices but the food is excellent (there was a particularly toothsome duck and lychee curry but it was all good.) Food prices were not the steal that people have come to expect in Thailand but that seemed to us to be increasingly rare on this trip but they are modest by US standards for what was served.

There is a dive shop on the premises and a spa that offers a two hour Thai massage for 800 baht (about one eighth of the rate at the JW Marriott that we stayed at, and loved, on Phuket.)

Service was slow by US fast-food standards but who is in a hurry? We even managed to make it out after dinner just before the reef became too exposed at low tide to get our dinghy over it. The wait staff is friendly, helpful within the limits of our mutual ability to communicate, beautifully attired and generally a pleasure. The proprietor/chef and his Czech girlfriend speak excellent English and are readily available so when we wanted to order a bottle of wine to take with us after our meal, we sorted it out with them to make sure no one opened it.

Apart from the pool and the bungalows, there is an open air reception hall and cooking facilities . Other commercial establishments are available on the island but not within walking distance.

We did not stay in one of the bungalows so all we know about them is what we could see from the outside. They seemed clean, neat and inviting.

After the tourist hordes in Patong and Phi Phi this place was a blessed relief. We were not fortunate enough to have gone to these places when they were still unspoiled but, judging from the pictures, they looked a lot like the Glow/Elixir resort does today. I would come back in a heartbeat, whether I was sailing or not.

If you are looking for a beautiful, peaceful tropical beach resort, this is your spot. It is simple without being primitive, relaxing without being boring (at least for us.) The length of your stay should be based on how long you would like to kick back and relax because that's the deal both at the resort and, as far as we could tell, on Ko Yao Yai generally.

Do not come to this resort if:

You want an organized activity list that will fill up several days;

You really crave the Patong party scene;

You don't like the fact that the staff's English is sometimes almost as bad as your Thai (in fact, if that bothers you, do all of us a favor and go to some other country;)

You think that anything above youth hostel prices are exorbitant; or

You crave marble imported western style luxury in your accommodations.

If these things don't bother you, you will be insanely happy here.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank irvingubundi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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177 - 183 of 467 reviews

Reviewed January 24, 2013

We traveled to Koh Yao Yai on an impulse that I had while looking at a friend's trip to the same place. We looked up the place on internet and the excitement of getting a room with a private pool was the clincher. So after almost an eight hour plane ride, half an hr boat ride and another 1 hr car ride we finally reach Glow Elixir.

Positives: Location, Sunset, Beach, awesome room and friendly staff. The place is so secluded that you actually feel scared at night. The sunset is beautiful and we had taken a Deluxe Pool Suite on the hill so the experience of seeing the sunset with a glass of wine in the pool was awesome. The Bed was a mattress kept on the raised platform which added a sense of mystique in the room. The room we felt was very romantic especially the outdoor shower and the bath tub. The patio or the sala was a nice place to relax. The staff was always smiling and courteous though i don't know if they always understood what i was saying.

The food was good and as both My wife and I like Thai food, we enjoyed the dinner they gave us, but the breakfast was disappointment as there was no variety.

Negative - Location, the money you pay - So the secluded location does become a disadvantage because there is absolutely nothing to do especially if you can't ride a bike. The website says they offer bicycles on rent but they don't. Renting a car to go to any of the piers is super expensive and the boat ride to and from from Phuket is also not cheap. Even to go to Koh Yao Noi we paid 600 Bahts per person to get to the pier and the boat ride took us 50 Bahts pp. So even though the hotel room might seem to come at a cheaper rate, getting around and doing things are really expensive.

Also once the sun sets there is actually nothing to do.

I would suggest that its still worth going there once but be aware there isnt much to do

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank sanjeevprakash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2013

Just returned and spend two nights at the Elixir resort in Kao Yao Yai, which is a 25 mins speed boat ride from Phuket. It's my 3rd visit and as usual I experienced magnificent sunset, secluded beach, azure sea, gentle breeze, warm sun, unpolluted air, birds and insects sounds. The resort is a three star establishment (in terms of rates) but a six stars experience (nothing fancy nevertheless). Although it is almost fully occupied due to high season, it gives the space and one never feel overwhelm by the crowd with only 44 villas. No noisy young teenagers or tour groups but lots of young families with their babies seeking an escape from their hectic life or older people escape cold winters from Europe. There were free yoga and stretching classes, water aerobics, head and shoulder messages, painting lessons, jungle and village walks and Thai cooking class. The choice of activities were amazing and I wish I could have spend more nights in this paradise! This is what Phuket was like 30 years ago.

The food was simple but great! The new general manager and the chef goes around to every table and seek out the guests opinions and impressions. The staffs were friendly with smiles, fellow guests were gentle and courteous. Elixir is definitely in my dream to go back again, next time, it will not be two nights but two weeks, because I want to get the diving experience as well!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Max M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2013

Very nice surprise after nearly 3 weeks travelling around the Thailand. Even the most expensive of all hotels we stayed in it was worth it. Very nice rooms, with perfect service, always clean, outdoor shower.
Wifi available.
Nice pool and beach.
Only negative experience was food, expectaction value for money was not really there, staff extremely slow (and on thailand condition not even smilling), very often not get what we ordered due to not enough supplies, and they do not inform you in advance... Breakfast in thet 5 days was always cold no mather what hour you come (cold sausages and bacon...).
More sport or leisure time activiries or ofeer would be welcemed on so many stars.
Over all evaluation very good. Recommed for stay.

Room Tip: room 122 - close to beach, pool :)
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MirkaZachar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2013

We stayed at this hotel for 4 nights leaving on 7 jan 2013, travelling with a 2yr old who was quite unwell - we still managed to have a lovely stay. Great location with a lovely beach and easy to get a long boat for day trips out. We met 2 members of our family also holidaying who had an amazing hill side pool villa - we had a standard room. If I returned I would try for a beach front villa or hill side villa. The service is not brilliant but this seems to be consistent on this island and also neighbouring Ko Yao Noi. There appeared to be a change in management and I think this will see a huge improvement quite quickly but regardless this hotels is lovely and I would return and recommend. A huge thank you to Head chef Scott and Jitsak who really went out of their way to make our party of 5 really comfortable. We ventured out for dinner, taxi was quite expensive but consistent with taxi from the pier. Our recommendation is to use a long boat from the local shop rather than the dive centre which charged one couple 3 times the amount for an identical trip. As the island is remote some items run out which was annoying in the beginning but we managed to laugh about the continual lack of diet coke and bananas!!

Room Tip: Beach front or hill side villa.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Clare B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2013

Stayed at Elixir between 26/12 and 2/1 2013. Family of two adults and two kids, 5 and 8 years old. The location is great! located at a sandy beach with some snorkeling possibilities. Elixir Divers offers diving and snorkeling activities as close as 4 min boat ride but also as far as the Phi Phi islands. Can recommend this resort for a relaxing stay with or without kids!

Room Tip: Recommend the Beach front villas with pool. Expensive but worth the extra.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank KETWik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

Ever since the days of the bible we were made to believe that paradise is perfect. Since our visit to Elixir Resort we are tempted to believe that while it still is a very desirable place, it may just not be as perfect as we have always thought.

Overall

Paradise it is. At least as long as you aren't ready to completely leave civilisation behind you with all the amenities we've got used to (including such things as - albeit sluggish - wifi Internet connection, a hot shower that works, a restaurant with a decent selection of food and satellite tv). If you're ready to leave all this behind you may find other places that come even closer to what we made believe paradise is. If you are like we - a family with two early teenage kids and a normal work schedule that only gives you two weeks of holidays during peak season - Elixir is a great solution away from the stresses - just don't expect it to be perfect.

We've read all the reports here on Tripadvisor before we made our decision to come here. And most of them are accurate descriptions of reality. What's important is how you rate these experiences and to what extent you are ready to enjoy your holidays at a wonderful location despite some shortcomings that are undeniably there. If you're the type who comes to expect Club Med like service and facilities - stay away. You'll be disappointed and may end up writing more negative reports here. If you expect a place tucked away from the hassles of everyday life and are consequently ready to accept that some things here are just not as perfect as in your daily life - you might be better suited here.

We've been here for an 8-days vacation over New Year and just enjoyed our stay here quite a lot. With a bit of smiling, seeing how things could easily be improved if the resort would have a more experienced management. In short, it was very sympathetic to see how everybody tried his/her best to make our stay as pleasant as possible, how they did their very best to serve our needs so we couldn't any other than smile. English skills of the team are limited so you better make sure everything is understood well - doing so with a smile will do wonders! They were doing all they could to fulfil your wishes - just a bit more training and help from an experienced management could really excel the service level to really good standards!

The resort is now seven years old and it shows. It is not neglected or worn down - far from! It's just that buildings and installations show the sign of age in a tropical climate. Nothing to worry about if you accept that this is tropical reality. While we were there they did a lot of refurbishing work which was not disturbing, although one asks oneself why these works are done during high season?

Accommodation

We had rented a hillside pool villa which was a great choice. These villas are nestled above the resort, perfectly quiet on the hill with a gorgeous view over the bay and out to the blindingly white sands of Khai Nai island on the horizon. Waking up in the morning with that multi-million dollar view from your bed or enjoying sunset there may very well be worth the money alone. Yet it's just a light 3 minutes walk down the well maintained garden to the beach. They offer almost complete privacy and the pool - while not big enough for a real swim - was great for cool dips in the morning or when coming home from a day excursion. The villas are not really large but perfectly OK since you don't stay inside a lot and the veranda with the pool extends your private living room just nicely. We had an extra bed set in the room so we could use the kingsize bed with 3 and the single bed with one person. The outside shower was lot of fun and one can have a hot shower if required. Sat TV is there with all the usual international channels - unfortunately wifi doesn't work in the room nor on most of the beach ares.

Food

Much has been said about the food being overpriced for Thai conditions. Well, our complaint would be less about the prices but more about the quality. Not bad at all, but one wonders about the relative lack of creativity and use of local resources that the chef and his team show. We've been to a couple of other resorts in Asia and the quality of food and how the chef's team played with the local ressources at every level was always a source of joy. Thai dishes are good, albeit the selection is a bit limited after a few days. One would not expect a selection of ten different pizzas in a Thai resort - and frankly, they shouldn't be there. You would think there's not much one can do wrong with a burger - yet Elixir's kitchen team proves it is possible. Most important ingredient to many dishes seem to be onions that are generously used across many of the dishes. Breakfast is OK with all the usual yet limited choices. But again a bit more attention to detail, love and enthusiasm of the kitchen team may make this a really great experience rather than the OK one it is. Just starting with a selection of fresh juices instead of the packaged ones would already make a difference. After all we are in the tropics and fresh fruit is on the trees all around the resort, isn't it? I don't expect fresh croissants at this end of the world - but is the selection really limited to out of plastic-bag toast and chewy bakery products? And why does the gas-cooker for the eggs have to be placed inside its transportation cardboard box on the table in the breakfast room? How can such things be overlooked by the management other than through a lack of experience or a missing sense of refinement?

Beach & pool

That's probably the main reason why most people come to such a resort. And you will not be disappointed. The sand is white and fine - not quite rivalling the best of beaches we have found in other places in Asia (e.g. the Philippines). But a very good one and well maintained so it's always a pleasure to spend your day there. The entire bay is exclusive for the resort with just a couple of fisherman's families living at the south end. And the best thing: you really feel like this is your private beach! One day - although high season and the resort was almost fully booked - we found ourselves with just four more people on the 300m stretch of pristine white sand for an entire afternoon! Swimming at low tide is indeed impossible but we didn't find this very annoying as this is something you'll find in many places around here and just refreshed at the pool instead which is only 10 meters away from the Beach during the 2-3 hours per day when swimming is impossible.
The pool is of average size, very clean, yet not very inspiring. But again with only 35 villas and a total of about 70 people in the resort even if fully booked, you will feel like on a private island here! The downside? The swim-by pool bar is always deserted so you just can't swim by and enjoy a fresh drink. You'll have to walk over to the restaurant and order one there.

Activities program

As said, don't expect a Club Med like activities program here - and we didn't miss it. There is some pool action in the mornings if you need this early-morning workout. A few Finnish students provided instructions and motivation. There are free scuba-diving trials in the pool if you want to try this. We did and even ended up with an open-water dive which we quite enjoyed - although the underwater world we found is no comparison to what we'd seen in the Philippines on an earlier trip and diving around Phi-Phi island is closer to peak-hour traffic experience in an Asian metropolis than to the secluded nature experience you'd expect of an under water paradise. Renting a motorbike is a good thing to see more of the island - there's not much traffic so it's a fairly safe thing to do and especially the little dirt roads off track provide you with some really great experiences. What not to do? We were quite disappointed by the "nature walk" which was merely a 60mins stroll around the outside of the resort which mainly lead us through piles of dirt and garbage dumped in the woods by the locals. A lot needs to be done by the local community to make this the fascinating experience it could well be on a not heavily populated island!

Can we recommend it?

Definitely yes. You can have a great time here. If you're looking for a quiet place away from the crowds yet easily accessible, this is your place to go. If you're OK with a solid three-out-of-five-star standard and decent, while not overwhelming food, you will not be disappointed.

While we were staying there they were just about to rebrand the resort into "GLOW Elixir Resort" as the entire property was taken over by a new management group. If they are successful in upgrading the abilities of their management so it can help the very willing and friendly staff to receive a better training and be there best, this place has the potential to become really great! Just don't expect paradise to be perfect and you'll have a great time here.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank bidione
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about GLOW Elixir Koh Yao Yai

Address: 99 Moo 3 | Prunai, Ko Yao Yai 83000, Thailand (Formerly Elixir Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Thailand > Phang Nga Province > Ko Yao Yai
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Ko Yao Yai
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Ko Yao Yai
#3 Luxury Hotel in Ko Yao Yai
Price Range: $98 - $269 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — GLOW Elixir Koh Yao Yai 4*
Number of rooms: 35
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
GLOW Elixir Koh Yao Yai is an ideal island resort situated on a peaceful and private beach on KohYao Yai in Phang Nga. The 35 midscale all-villa property sits on a 300-meter stretch of beach just steps away from the glistening Andaman Sea.GLOW Elixir Koh Yao Yai is the first GLOW by Zinc resort worldwide and the third property in Thailand.The resort features 35 private suites/villas in contemporary tropical design with a rustic island style set amongst lush tropical gardens. The unique island layout provides each of the villas with a stunning sea view and direct access to the enticing beach of the Andaman Sea. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Elixir Hotel Koh Yao Yai
Elixir Resort Koh Yao Yai

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